The day before yesterday I noticed two small dark lumps on a stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). At first I thought they were some sort of seeds that had fallen off nearby trees, but then I saw that had an interesting texture so I took a closer look. Then I saw that they had legs. so I took some photos.
That evening, back at home, I was able to identify them as Cionus tuberculosus (= Cionus tuberculatus), the figwort weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Then I looked up figwort, thinking it was a plant I hadn't come across before, but when I saw a picture I immediately recognized it as something I had seen beside the large lake a couple of weeks ago. The following morning I went back up to the lake and was able to take this photo:
What's more, these plants, which were 200 metres from the nettles where I had first see the figwort weevils, were also infested with the very same weevils:
Some people think that these look like little elephants:
Note the rounded bumps on the edge of the leaf: these are characteristic of water figwort (Scrophularia auriculata = Scrophularia aquatica); the other common UK species of figwort, woodland figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) has serrated edges to its leaves.
Photos taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2009-10-08 (the first) and 2009-10-09 (the rest).